Exclusive: Undead Nazis Strike in MARVEL ZOMBIES DESTROY

Exclusive: Undead Nazis Strike in May

Marvel Zombies are rising again in May.

Marvel Zombies

Destroy! #1 cover.

First launched as part of a storyline in Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel Zombies became a bustling franchise for the publisher with a 2005 miniseries written by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman, and multiple subsequent follow-ups. Though the stories have traveled to different realities, the constant is zombie-fied versions of many familiar Marvel characters.

In an announcement exclusive to Newsarama, the five-issue Marvel Zombies Destroy! launches with two installments in May from the creative team of writer Frank Marraffino and artist Mirco Pierfederici, with covers by Michael Del Mundo. Marraffino also write the previous Marvel Zombies series, 2011's Marvel Zombies Supreme, and says that the closest tie between the two stories is theme.

"From the beginning, Marvel Zombies has been bold and brash in celebrating the bright gore and the dark humor possible is these scenarios," Marraffino told Newsarama. "Also, Marvel Zombies has continually given us fresh (or newly rotting) ways to look at familiar characters and concepts. Part of the fun is eviscerating (sometimes literally) different aspects of the Marvel Universe that we know and love."

The series sees the forces of A.R.M.O.R. headed to a world where zombie-powered Nazis won World War II. Machine Man and Jack of Hearts both played major roles in Marvel Zombies Supreme, and while neither play a role in Destroy!, Marraffino has new leads in place.

Battlestar returns for more zombie combat, plus Howard the Duck and veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. officer Dum Dum Dugan are deployed to confront the threat, along with a team dubbed "Ducky's Dozen." Marraffino said the series will help Dugan step out from Nick Fury's shadow.

"From Sancho Panza to Chewbacca, supporting characters help define the stars, but it’s always great when they get a chance to shine on their own," Marraffino said. "Dum Dum is immediately appealing on the superficial strength of his name and appearance alone. Unfortunately for him, Howard the Duck has a very specific reason for asking the old warhorse out to play. A reason when revealed that will cause Dugan to re-think his entire worldview."

Marraffino said readers can expect roles from many recognizable World War II-era Marvel characters, but as for who exactly will comprise "Ducky's Dozen," the writer declined to go into details — though Marvel's Golden Age comics might provide some hints.

"From Howard the Duck’s first appearance alongside Man-Thing, he’s been right at home hanging out with strange cats and weird characters," Marraffino said. "It’s no different this time, but the dudes and dames of his Ducky Dozen are not who you’d expect. Howard has gathered a motley group of highly unique individuals who are descendants of Marvel characters from the 1940’s, and in this way they have generational knowledge and ties to the world they’re charging into."

Marvel Zombies

Destroy! #2 cover.

Marraffino is a Zombies veteran, but it's Pierfederici's first work in this corner of the Marvel Multiverse. Previously, he worked on last year's revival of Victorian detective series Ruse and Dark Wolverine.

"Every work represents a different challenge," Pierfederici said to Newsarama. "If in Ruse the major difficulty was the task of portraying a Victorian atmosphere, here my biggest commitment is to define the resistance of a small group of soldiers against an army of hungry zombies. It 's a bit like a war movie, full of bullets, explosions and blood, much blood.

Although it's his first Zombies comic, Pierfederici expressed no interest in shying away from the franchise's trademark (and inherent to the genre) gore.

"I've always been a big fan of horror films and splatter in general, and I think that in a comic book that has the word zombie on the cover there is to expect a certain amount of 'detail,'" the artist said.

"We keep asking for the impossible as far as the crazy concepts we need him to convey, and he hasn’t yet flinched or hesitated to put it all down on paper," Marraffino said of working with Pierfederici. "I think people familiar with Mirco’s art from Ruse or Dark Wolverine will be amazed at the detailed linework he's doing here."

Marvel editor Jake Thomas described Marvel Zombies Destroy! as something of a synthesis between Robert Kirkman's first two Marvel Zombies series, and the sequels written by Fred Van Lente.

"To me, the early Kirkman Marvel Zombies stories were these huge, epic apocalypse tales where the most powerful protectors of good had all turned, and what happens when those heroes are infected with an evil, all-consuming hunger," Thomas said. "The Van Lente stories were more about prevention, with a group of plucky heroes fighting to contain, cure or destroy the zombie plagues. What I think we’re doing with Marvel Zombies Destroy! is combing those two approaches."

With this spring's Marvel Zombies Destroy!, the publisher has released right around a dozen different projects in the series, including Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness and the one-shot Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution. Marvel editor Mark Paniccia has a succinct explanation for the continuing success of the brand.

"It's zombies, dude."

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